21 March 2014 3:07 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Jason Reitman takes a holiday from his normally sophisticated wit in this bizarrely unconvincing film

After excellent movies such as Juno and Young Adult, Jason Reitman has given us a misstep. Actually, it's more like a pratfall. Labor Day is a glossy, cloying nullity of a film, supposedly a "coming-of-age" tale, though the teen character is disconcertingly peripheral to the adult drama, and his personal development is entirely without interest.

Labor Day lacks this film-maker's usual sophisticated wit: it is bizarrely unconvincing, sugary and humourless, like a Walt Disney version of The Night of the Hunter.

Gattlin Griffith plays Henry, a boy who, back in the 1980s, lives with  his depressed, divorced mom, Adele, played by Kate Winslet. Out shopping one day, they are effectively kidnapped by Frank (Josh Brolin), an escaped criminal. While laying low in their house, Frank does a few odd jobs, gains their trust, then morphs »

- Peter Bradshaw

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